I hate bringing up this brand always as an example but they do a lot of things right.
The short lesson from this article about Apple’s retail experience is that if you want people to have a consistently good experience with your store, you must CONTROL everything. No element of your store’s experience should be left up to a random element of choice as decided by an hourly employee.
A 2007 employee training manual lays out the A-P-P-L-E “steps of service” with an acronym of the company name: “Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome,” “Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs,” “Present a solution for the customer to take home today,” “Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns,” and “End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.” It is reportedly still in use today.
Freedom comes on the other side of control. Question is, how are we controlling the experience in our stores?
Markets, consumer behavior and how businesses connect with customers are all directly impacted by technology.
The increasingly important role of technology, combined with global economic unrest, means a company’s brand is more important today than it has ever been. Consumers, in search of certainty, rely heavily on a brand’s symbolism and significance
Digital Darwinism is the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than some companies’ ability to adapt.
Babson College cited a rather humbling statistic; “Over 40% of the companies that were at the top of the Fortune 500 in 2000 were no longer there in 2010.”
24/7 Wall St. published its annual list of “Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2012.” The publication predicts the demise of some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including Sony Pictures, American Apparel and Nokia.
“For me, marketing is about values. This is a very noisy world and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. So, we have to be very clear what we want them to know about us.” (Steve Jobs)
The company then looked inward in an attempt to answer the questions: Who is Apple; What does it stand for and where does the brand fit in the world.
“What we’re about isn’t making boxes for people to get their jobs done,” said Jobs during the company meeting,” Apple’s core value is that we believe people with passion can change the world…for the better. Those people, crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones that actually do.…Here’s to the crazy ones.”
McDonald’s is adapting to a new era, creating an experience marked by muted colors, wooden tables and faux leather chairs. And, that’s just the beginning. McDonald’s is pouring $1 billion into redesigning the consumer experience.
Everything begins with embracing a culture of innovation and adaptation — a culture that recognizes the impact of disruptive technology and how consumer preference and affinity is evolving.
If a organizations cannot recognize opportunities to further compete for attention and relevance, it cannot, by default, create meaningful connections, a desirable brand or drive shareable experiences. The brand, as a result, will lost preference in the face of consumer choice, which may one day lead to its succumbing to digital Darwinism.
Great post by Avi Dan…
To get the most out of their agency, smart clients become their agency’s best client. Steve Jobs understood this. So did Phil Knight from Nike. They understood what matters to agencies and to agency people:
- Death by nitpicking. Nothing wears out agencies faster than re-do’s, having to rework the same idea over and over again. I had a simple rule with my agency: we allowed ourselves only 3 strikes. If, by the third revision, the idea was still not approved, we retired it and moved on to the next idea.
- People who can say, “Yes”. Too often the agency has to present ideas to middle managers who are not decision makers, and whose role is often limited to rejecting ideas. Smart clients involve the person who can say “Yes” from the get-go, be it the CMO or even the CEO.
- Collaboration. Agencies crave respect – clients that empower them to have a more consultative relationship, rather than a vendor-like arrangement. A key value an agency can bring to the relationship is third-party objectivity, as the client view and the customer view need to be supplemented by an independent agency view in a healthy relationship.
- Creative hothouse. Creative showcase accounts, and the chance to win creative awards, attract a disproportionate share of the agency’s, and the industry, best talent. A great client has uncompromising standards of creativity and an almost religious belief in a great brief.
- Evaluations. Great clients are objective and encourage two-way communication. They implement a 360-degrees evaluation process, where client and agency have equal input. For great clients, the evaluation process is a dialogue, not a report card. It is designed to inspire mastery, beyond just capturing functioning capability.
- Compensation. Smart clients encourage agencies to become their business partners and be measured by business results, aligning compensation with outcomes, and giving them an opportunity for maximizing their upside.
It is up to the CMO and his or her marketing team to create an atmosphere of excellence on their business, and an inspired culture of achievement. An great client, one with the passion to become an agency’s best client, will attracts a disproportionate amount of agency talent that will give it a strategic competitive edge.
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“[The late] Steve Jobs said it best: ‘Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy.'” says marketing professor Dinah Vernik. “And our research presented a counterintuitive conclusion that in fact, removing the DRM can be more effective in decreasing music piracy than making the DRM more stringent.”
Because a DRM-restricted product will only be purchased by a legal user, “only the legal users pay the price and suffer from the restrictions,” the researchers write. “Illegal users are not affected because the pirated product does not have DRM restrictions.”
“Removal of these restrictions makes the product more convenient to use and intensifies competition with the traditional format (CDs), which has no DRM restrictions,” Vernik says. “This increased competition results in decreased prices for both downloadable and CD music and makes it more likely that consumers will move from stealing music to buying legal downloads.” Read full article here.
“The ability to weave a tale is among the most powerful elements in any leader’s repertoire.” Hollywood producer and Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber (“The Kids Are All Right“, Oscar nominee ‘Best Picture‘). Here are four that stand out.
Former President Bill Clinton
Though not technically a business leader, Clinton’s leadership skills are formidable. “He is able to glean whats in it for his listener get their attention and then their intention,” Guber says. “His authenticity of purpose enters the room before he speaks the first word. He charms them and disarms them and then rearms them with his narratives.”
Apple Founder Steve Jobs
“Jobs’ Job One is story,” Guber says. ” he knows his devotees can’t just be customers—he needs apostles for his products who tell his story as their own and move it forward. Look at the lines in front of his stores when he opens new products. After he tells his story, the reaction reminds me of folks waiting for a big movie opening.”
POM Founder Lynda Resnick
“Story is Lynda’s mantra,” Guber says. “If she can’t find the story she can tell in the product, she simply doesn’t sell the product. Whether it is POM Wonderful, the pomegranate juice, Get Crackin’ pistachios, or replicas of Jackie O’s pearls, her narrative wins the day and hearts of her audience.”
Under Armour Founder Kevin Plank
“Kevin uses stories to create the impression among athletes that wearing Under Armour beneath your game shirt is a way to drive and fulfill your aspirations as a competitor,” Guber says. “He takes a story about perspiration and brings it to the level of inspiration.”
“The Heaviness Of Being Successful Was Replaced By The Lightness Of Being A Beginner Again, Less Sure About Everything.” – Steve Jobs
After yesterdays news about another medical leave of him, I remembered his commencement address atStanford from 2005.
***Interesting read (October 2010): John Sculley on Steve Jobs and on the value of experience. Interview transscript***
By Stephen M. Kosslyn
The Craft of Scientific Presentations: Critical Steps to Succeed & Critical Errors to Avoid
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The Jelly Effect: How to Make Your Communication Stick
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The tablet was called “Bashful,” in reference to the dwarf in the fairy tale Snow White. Those mock-ups show what the tablet might have looked like more than 25 years ago. With Apple expected to unveil its long-awaited tablet device on Wednesday, it seems like a good time to bring these photos out of the archives, Frog Design’s people thought. (via wired.com)